It’s that time of year when the country begins to wind down after a year of work, effort and enterprise in order to take a well-earned break. Often, at the end of the year, tempers are frayed and nerves stretched to the limit. It appears that some of our country’s leaders are more than a little intemperate at the moment. Read about this and the reaction of organised agriculture in our Local News section.
The poultry industry and all involved in feeding our nation can reflect on an exceptionally tough 2016 - and here at the Bulletin, we felt your pain and experienced a fair share of ours; it’s been a hard year all round. In spite of this, we’d like to pay tribute to our advertisers, our contributors and you, our readers. Have a read of our Christmas Greetings page for some seasonal greetings from our advertisers and us to you.
If you read nothing else this month, do look at the Organisational Matters page, written by Dr Charlotte Nkuna, SAPA’S senior executive. It is important to note that the Bulletin is first and foremost your inside track on the work SAPA does on your behalf. There is some critical information in these pages that can have a direct impact on your business, ranging from industry levies through to animal welfare codes. This is an opportunity to have your say, so I urge you to stay informed on developments and respond in the interests of your business.
It looks as if the season isn’t so festive in Europe as the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu strain sweeps across the continent. These reports in our International News section serve as a timely reminder that AI can strike anywhere, at any time, and cautions us to practice the highest levels of biosecurity at the farm gate to protect our national flock - a precious but vulnerable resource. Gineke Mons’ Northern Views column also highlights the anxiety felt by hapless farmers terrified that their seemingly healthy flocks can die virtually overnight should this virus strike.
Our piece entitled ‘Keeping it safe’ has some useful points on implementing and maintaining biosecurity on farms. Don’t miss it. There’s also an interesting report from Europe where producers call for a level playing field - and then decry South Africa’s “protectionism” - breathtaking in its hypocrisy. Would that our government was as enthusiastic about supporting our producers as the EU is about theirs!
It’s interesting to note that a US state has banned meat and egg products from caged systems. This is not the first, although the several retail chains across the EU and the USA are picking up on this trend driven by consumer demand. It can only be a matter of time until similar voices reach our shores, and the industry had better have a combined position when it does. Read Kevin’s From the Desk to get some extra insight on the global developments in this regard; forewarned is forearmed.¡